President's Dream Colloquium on Returning to the Teachings: Justice, Identity and Belonging

Colloquium Course

This course supports and responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which highlighted the lasting legacies of historical and intergenerational trauma that emerged as a result of colonialism, the Indian Act and the Residential School System.

The TRC issued 94 Calls to Action, with a number of the recommendations specific to institutions of higher education. The call is to work with Indigenous peoples to incorporate Indigenous knowledges and ways of learning through the eyes of local traditional knowledge keepers and elders, to inform intercultural learning and  social healing.

Through the lens of two-eyed seeing, students will engage in a range of pedagogies, that build on distinct epistemologies, to explore justice, identity and belonging in the context of Education for Reconciliation.  Public lectures, ceremony, dialogue circles, and training as reconciliation ambassadors characterize the mixed method pedagogies through which we return to the teachings and reflect on what is needed to weave a new way forward, as inspired by the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph:

“Let us find a way to belong to this time and place together. Our future, and the well- being of all our children rests with the kind of relationships we build today.”

Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C.

The course supports an in-depth study of how our various epistemologies influence our hermeneutic orientation to research and educational practice. The intention of this course is to weave a rich ecology of praxis and to awaken a greater knowledge of important epistemological, contemplative, cultural, and developmental influences on our understandings of the praxis of reconciliation, as it relates to the evolving role of educators, students, institutions, nation states and citizens. We will study various theoretical frameworks, reconciliation frameworks and pedagogical perspectives focusing on the praxis of education for reconciliation.

Growing out of personal stories, this course is designed to explore various cultural and epistemological perspectives, research these perspectives, reflect on and articulate them personally, collectively and publically.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

  • To deepen and broaden our understanding of the praxis of education for reconciliation, at personal, community, institutional, national and societal levels of engagement.
  • To cultivate one’s capacities as a reconciliation ambassador.
  • To examine the influence and responsibility we have as storytellers, educators, and researchers, and how to acquire and utilize that influence with integrity and generosity and skill.
  • To examine the presence and power of personal and public narratives as they represent themselves in different pedagogies and epistemologies.

Course Requirements

Students are required to participate in all the activities to acquire knowledge pertaining to the course goals and demonstrate a high level of excellence in at least two of the main goals that drive the course:

  • Develop understanding and knowledge of important epistemological, contemplative, cultural, and developmental influences on our understandings of the praxis of education for reconciliation.
  • Experience in-depth meaning-making out of one’s own engagement with the praxis of education for reconciliation.

To that end, students will be expected to do such things as:

  • Be prepared for and participate in classroom dialogue.
  • Develop a reflective and critical practice through the development of a personal portfolio.
  • Produce a multi modal major work that provides evidence of personal growth with a focus on the far-reaching influence of education for reconciliation.
  • Present your learning, individually and/or collectively.

Grading and Evaluation (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory)

  • Portfolio: completing of developmental assignments such as life writing, art work, reflective journaling, lyrical and theoretical writing, as facilitated by our inquiry process (Mark 30%)
  • Presentation: Education for Reconciliation   (Mark 30%)
  • Final Reflective Paper as represented through multi modalities which integrate the readings, research, dialogue, lectures and ceremony (Mark 40%)

Required Texts:

Recommended texts:

  • Clarkson, Adrienne (2014).  Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship. (Massey Lecture)
  • Hogan, Linda (2001). Dwellings. New York: Norton & Company.
  • King, Thomas (2013). The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. Penguin Random House.
  • King, Thomas (2003). Truth about Story: A Native Narrative. (Massey Lecture)
  • Llewellen, J. & Philpott, D. (2014). Restorative Justice, Reconciliation and Peacebuilding. Oxford University Press
  • Saul, John Ralston (2014).  The Comeback.  Penguin Random House.
  • Wagamese, Richard. (2012). Indian Horse. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre.
  • Williams, Terry Tempest. (2009). Finding Beauty in a Broken World. New York, NY: Vintage Books.


Applications for the Colloquium course will be accepted until all class spots are taken. Application forms will be available shortly.

Admission to the Course

All SFU graduate students and senior undergraduates may register with permission of their departments. Graduate students in the following departments have been pre-approved to take this course for credit towards their degrees:

  • Education
  • Criminology
  • Psychology

Enrolment in the colloquium will be capped at 20 registrants, and admission will be by application only.

The class is currently full but you may apply and be added to the waitlist.